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Sopwith Snipe Biplane Fighter Aircraft (1918)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 2/20/2013

The Sopwith Snipe was an evolved form of the successful war-winning Sopwith Camel design - though not appearing until the final weeks of World War 1.

The Sopwith Snipe took all of the components that had made the Sopwith Camel a legend in the middle years of World War 1 and introduced several new features that made this new design the most formidable Allied fighter. Appearing with just eight weeks left in the conflict, the Sopwith Snipe would nevertheless prove its worth against the very best Fokker designs available. In the end, the Herbert Smith-designed Snipe would continue to serve the Royal Air Force (RAF) in large capacity, surviving well into the inter-war years.

Externally, the Snipe took on the basic design of the Camel with a traditional biplane wing structure, fixed landing gear and single pilot seating. Armament consisted of two 7.7mm synchronized machine guns firing in a fixed-forward position. Where the Snipe stood out above its predecessor was internally, featuring an all-new more powerful engine, integrated oxygen and heating systems allowing the aircraft to fly higher and with a better straight-line speed. Power for the Snipe was derived from a Bentley B.R.2 rotary piston engine, delivering some 230 horsepower.

The Sopwith Snipe would go on to become the Thomas Sopwith firms last production aircraft by conflicts end. Over 2,000 examples would be produced and would serve in some capacity up until 1927.

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Specifications for the
Sopwith Snipe
Biplane Fighter Aircraft

Focus Model: Sopwith Snipe
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer: Sopwith Aviation Company - UK
Initial Year of Service: 1918
Production: 2,097

Crew: 1

Length: 19.75 ft (6.02 m)
Width: 30.09 ft (9.17 m)
Height: 8.76ft (2.67 m)
Weight (Empty): 1,323 lb (600 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 2,028 lb (920 kg)

Powerplant: 1 x Bentley B.R.2 rotary piston engine delivering 230 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 121 mph (195 kmh; 105 kts)
Maximum Range: 40 miles (65 km)
Service Ceiling: 19,521 ft (5,950 m; 3.7 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,500 feet-per-minute (457 m/min)

Hardpoints: 4
Armament Suite:
2 x 7.7mm Vickers fixed, forward-firing machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

4 x 25lb bombs underwing

Snipe - Base Series Designation

Australia; Brazil; Canada; Soviet Union; United Kingdom